Whether your child is 6 weeks or 6 years old, designing their nursery or bedroom can be a fun and creative project; one parent and child can collaborate on together. (That is, once the kids start speaking their minds and expressing their opinions!) With some personal touches and some professional feedback, a decorative children’s bedroom can come together quite nicely and reflect their unique personalities.
Five interior designers who frequently work in The Garden State shared their advice on decorating children’s rooms that are trendy, special, and in the words of your kids “really cool.” Their feedback is outlined below.
Lynn Berney & Tracy Gould
LT Design Studios, New York City
Consider longevity. “Spend the most on the items that will have longevity, such as the actual furniture, window treatments, lighting, and built-ins,” suggest Berney and Gould. “Save money on items that are likely to be easily ruined, such as area rugs, bedding, and accessories.” When purchasing a glider for baby’s room, consider one with a slip cover; cleaning or replacing a damaged slip cover is less expensive than buying a new glider. “Also, gliders can be passed down to siblings and make a nice reading chair. We love the gliders from RH Baby and Child.”
Incorporate newborn gifts. “You probably received more stuffed animals and lovies than you know what to do with! Display them on baby’s shelves, gliders, and even bookcases.”
Go shiny. Berney and Gould love the gold trend right now, but for those wanting to go a bit more classic, silver is also great, or try mixing gold and silver for a unique look with true shine. “Adding this touch of sheen makes any nursery more modern, younger, and a little more hip.” Additionally, they suggest using an unexpected crib color, such as turquoise, or even clear.
Find Ma & Pa shops. “Our clients adore Just A Dream in West Orange,” say Berney and Gould. “They are excellent at personalizing anything and have an amazing selection of affordable decor.”
More info: ltdesignstudios.com
JK Interior Living, Ridgewood
Repurpose vintage pieces. According to Kantrowitz, whether you’re refinishing flea market finds or nostalgic pieces with emotional value, repurposing vintage pieces ensures your space maintains originality. “Depending on the bedroom, you can either play it safe or try and take risks with your color selections,” she says. “If you’re going glam, I recommend accentuating the details with a gilded technique.” (A gilded technique is when a layer of gold or silver leaf is applied and gently hand pressed with a soft brush.)
Mix it up. If using bedside tables, mix and match two styles of tables on either side while maintaining one uniform color throughout. “This will keep the continuity while adding styling interest,” says Kantrowitz. “Plus, this look can extend from nurseries in soft neutrals to master bedrooms in richer tones. My favorite vintage piece has been a distressed white trunk with engraved floral scrolls situated at the foot of a bed. This look lends itself perfectly in shabby chic decor.”
Consider low-cost accents. Check home décor stores, such as HomeGoods, to fill in your home styling gaps. “These retailers produce nearly exact replicas of big name designer home accents at a much lower cost,” says Kantrowitz. “When properly displayed alongside high-end pieces, you’ve successfully achieved a beautiful look at a fraction of the price.”
Beautiful boutique. “I never leave empty handed when shopping at Peachy Keen Kids in Ridgewood,” says Kantrowitz. “This boutique carries the most beautiful furniture and accents for any children’s bedroom or play space.”
More info: jkinteriorliving.com or call 201-675-5645
McMullin Design Group, Haddonfield
Invest in convertible furniture. “Convertible furniture transitions from a crib, to toddler’s bed, to a double-headboard, for example.” An up-front investment saves you from additional costly purchases down the road.
Buy local. Avoid furniture from manufacturers who produce their products overseas, “as regulations regarding finish and toxic materials are not as stringent as the U.S.” advises McMullin. Sticking with American or Canadian-made furniture will guarantee a non-toxic finish, which will ease your worries when baby starts teething on the crib’s railing. Plus, spending more on non-toxic convertible furniture “means you will get eighteen years of use, making the furniture affordable in the long run. Stick with neutrals–wood tones, white, black, or grey to get the longest use.”
Think about baby’s future. Look into removable appliques or dramatic art instead of wall-covering or painted murals, which saves you money and leaves you the flexibility to change the room as your child’s interests change. “Keeping the window treatments and furniture ‘neutral’ allows the paint, art, and bedding to change over time,” says McMullin.
Consider consignment shopping. “I love when a room starts with a found item or a family heirloom,” says McMullin, who browses consignment shops for retro art and furnishing finds. Vintage pieces are “a nice way to start any room, especially when creating a unique space for that new someone in your life.” An old dresser can easily be painted and turned into a changing table, for example. “The towns of Millville and Vineland have some resale shops. A Company of Angels in Vineland is a treasure trove of unique items. I have found some great retro lamps and side tables in the past year.”
More info: themcmullindesigngroup.com or call 856-673-0290
Judi Schwarz Interiors, Livingston
Use wood or neutral blinds. Schwarz recommends wood blinds for windows in the same neutral color as the walls, such as cream or white. “The more neutral tones you have, including the carpet and the headboard, the easier it is to change later on. A kid may love her turquoise carpet now, and want something different the following year.”
Have one wall that ‘pops’. “Younger kids may like chalkboard paint on one wall, which can later be painted over; another style is to paint just one wall, an accent wall, a shade like lavender or grey,” says Schwarz. “If child and parent choose to re-do the room in a few years, you just need to paint over one wall instead of four, which saves money and time.” Schwarz once designed for two sisters in separate bedrooms; one girl had pink dots on her accent wall, while her sister chose a wall of pink stripes. Three white walls and one accent wall is a cute and creative style for kids.
Utilize small spaces. Schwarz and her team designed a special room for a Make-A-Wish child who dreamed of a beautiful bedroom. To create more space, they arranged bunk beds along one wall, and lofted a single bed on the opposite wall, placing the desk underneath the raised bed (see photo). The result? A cheerful and cozy room, with ample floor space for three children to play.
Explore chain stores. “IKEA and Michaels have some unbelievable room décor for kids, such as large bulletin boards and vintage-style picture frames that can easily be decorated. IKEA also has full wall decals; and I recently found some great bedding for a child at Target.”
More info: judischwarzinteriors.com or call 973-758-1333
Hero (Top) Feature Image: Tomsickova/Dollar Photo Club
Additional Body Images (In Order) Courtesy:
©: Lynn Berney & Tracy Gould
©: Julie Kantrowitz
©: Bridget McMullin
©: Judi Schwarz